Joe Fast of Abbotsford is on dialysis four days a week and has issued a public plea for a kidney donor. (Submitted photo)

Joe Fast of Abbotsford is on dialysis four days a week and has issued a public plea for a kidney donor. (Submitted photo)

Abbotsford man with 5% kidney function is desperately in need of a live donor

Joe Fast has a rare blood type and hasn’t yet been able to find a transplant match

An Abbotsford man is going public with his plea for a kidney donor.

Joe Fast, who turns 31 on Dec. 20, is currently on dialysis four days a week, and his kidneys are functioning at five per cent.

Fast is one of the rarest blood types – B – and neither his parents nor other family members or friends are a match. His donor will need to be blood type B or O, which is universal.

He has been on the transplant waiting list for years, but no match has yet come through, and Fast said he is getting desperate.

“I’m at that point where I need to get a transplant because it’s like in your vehicle – when your battery’s done, you get a new battery, and it starts better. Without the new battery, you’re going to need somebody to jumpstart you,” he said.

JOE FAST

Fast’s kidney issues began at the age of three and a half when he ate undercooked sausage at his grandmother’s house.

He developed severe symptoms that included bloody diarrhea, and it took doctors three hospital visits to pinpoint the source: The sausage he had eaten contained the E. coli bacteria, which ravaged his body.

Fast, who grew up in Abbotsford, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that occurs when the blood vessels in kidneys become damaged and inflamed.

RELATED: Kidney-transplant surgery scheduled for Abbotsford ‘hot dog king’ and recipient

This damage can cause clots to form in the vessels. The clots clog the filtering system in the kidneys and lead to kidney failure.

The bacteria also attacked his bowel, perforating it and resulting in emergency surgery. He also had a large part of his intestine removed.

Fast was near death, and the heavy-duty antibiotics that were used to save his life caused further damage to his kidneys.

He spent about six months in B.C. Children’s Hospital – including on dialysis – and, because he was dubbed a “miracle child,” his story drew intense media attention.

Fast had a feeding tube as a child and couldn’t participate in sports or other physical activities. Over the years, he has also had to follow a strict diet low in salt, liquids and protein, which has made many foods out of reach.

He said he always felt singled out, but he tried to fit in over the years. As an adult, he worked in construction and as an excavator operator, while trying to keep up his monthly medical checkups.

Two years ago, he was walking down his carport on his way to the store to pick up a few items when he fell face first and had to call an ambulance. He ended up in hospital, where he required several blood transfusions and was on life support.

At one point, he said he had an out-of-body experience, looking down on himself as doctors worked to bring him back to life.

It was at this point that he was told his kidney function was at only four or five per cent. Fast has been on dialysis four days a week for four hours at a time ever since.

He says he would love to experience a normal life where he is not fatigued every day – he says he can only walk about half a block before needing to use his powered wheelchair – and he can eat some the foods he is currently denied.

Fast also thinks about maybe starting a family of his own in the future, and he’s keen to do what he can to make that happen.

“I’m at the point now where there’s a problem and there’s a solution, so how do I get to the solution?” he said.

Fast points out that the Kidney Foundation of Canada offers a reimbursement program that covers expenses associated with being a live organ donor, including loss of wages, accommodation and travel costs.

Fast can be reached at 778-685-3071. Those interested in becoming a donor for Fast or who want more information can also contact the donor nurse through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver at 604-806-9027 (toll-free 1-877-922-9822) or donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca.



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Healthcare

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

As a young child, Joe Fast was hospitalized for six months after he developed an E. coli infection that left him with permanent kidney damage.

As a young child, Joe Fast was hospitalized for six months after he developed an E. coli infection that left him with permanent kidney damage.

Just Posted

A colourful early morning sky, wispy cloud cover, the Golden Ears Bridge in the background, and the Fraser River and wharf in the foreground demonstrate just some of the breathtaking natural and man-made sights visible from the shoreline in Pitt Meadows – as seen through lens of Pitt Meadows resident Karen Foster. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Wharf offers riverside perspective of the bridge

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Jim Jensen recently took a leisurely and peaceful paddle on Alouette Lake, in Maple Ridge’s Golden Ears Provincial Park, and marvelled at the beauty of nature. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Floating on the still waters of the Alouette

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Hayden McGillvray shared a picture taken from the Port Haney train station, looking up the Fraser River from the historic wharf. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Sunset as seen from the train station

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Silver Valley resident Freda du Plessis was photographing bumblebees near Pitt Lake when a “majestic” osprey flew overhead hunting for food. It snagged this fish, and set down on a pole near du Plessis to eat. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Time to feast

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Bill Longpre shared a picture of the Fraser River and the Golden Ears Bridge as seen from one of the remaining mills along the shore in Albion. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Living life along the Fraser

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Most Read